Lakeview Student Writings
“Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher.” William Wordsworth
October 2018 – Lakeview High School teacher Kelly Wilson understands the power of connecting students with rich experiences. Because of her association with the Top-of-the-Mitt National Writing Project, a unique opportunity for Lakeview students presented itself.
At an NWP board meeting, Wilson learned that the Good Hart Artist and Writing Residency out of Harbor Springs had guest writer Bryna Cofrin-Shaw arriving in the area in September, and the Residency asked Bryna to work with local students.
In true collaborative effort involving Wilson, Anne Fleming of the Little Traverse Conservancy, a local land conservancy organization; Sue and Bill Klco, who created and oversee the Good Hart Residency; and Cofrin-Shaw, the students were able to learn more about the relationship between humans and nature and immerse themselves in a broad variety of information related to the topic.
This was because one of Cofrin-Shaw’s areas of interest is the “relationship between human and environmental traumas.” On Sept. 25, she came into the classroom at Lakeview, an alternative high school that partners with the 7th Probate Court to serve Emmet County youth. Cofrin-Shaw worked with students, presenting “beautiful, creative fiction and non-fiction” pieces and her own draft of a story, all of which the students responded to individually and as a group.
Two days later, the students and staff of Lakeview traveled to the McCune Nature Preserve, a 168-acre tract located east of Petoskey in Emmet County with hardwood forests, red pine plantations, open meadows, and cedar swamps. The preserve’s most impressive feature is its 3,400 feet of frontage along Minnehaha Creek.
Fleming began by sharing information about the conservancy and its properties, while Cofrin-Shaw lead everyone in a focused grounding/meditation reading. The group then set off into the woods to write with a Thoreau-esque appreciation of nature. Wilson provided writing prompts by using mentor texts, and the Klco’s provided lunch on-site for all. Journals were donated to the students by the Harbor Springs Festival of the Book committee. Students and staff shared their writing to celebrate a close to the afternoon.
“None of this can really explain the experience and how wonderful it was,” Wilson said. “The writing that the students did on site in such a short amount of time was amazing. Once you write in a place, it becomes a part of you forever. I’m so proud of them for their positive attitude and appreciation. I am grateful to everyone who helped to make this happen.”
Please read some of the students’ writings below, and view additional photos from the day:
A Cold Fall Day
By Donny Pearson
I am a leaf, a single leaf,
Falling because the weather changed like the plot in a good book.
I am most free
As I fall to the ground
Advice From a Tree
By Erin Hay
Take advice from a Tree
Take care of me while you still can.
I want to live my intended life Without being cut down or abused.
Let me live like you live.
You crush me. You kill me. You shred me up.
I give you what you need and you Take advantage of it.
Take advice from me A tree.
Be loving like you are to your children.
I am a child, Like your child.
Just trying to grow and live my life.
So let me thrive,
Just as you would want your children to live.
I am only a tree.
Dear Future Generations
By Ty Sisler
Dear Future Generations,
I am in a beautiful place
I know you might not understand.
The birds chirp, wild mushrooms decorate, and colorful flowers grow.
Branches snap, and the whistling wind
is a cool breeze that flows across my face.
We walk on the same soft ground
as all the amazing animals that wander the woods.
The colorful leaves on the trees
mark the season of fall, filled with wonder and beauty.
Dear Future Generations.
Do you remember any of this?
The outdoors reaps therapeutic satisfaction. The air splashes through the vast network of leaves swaying back and forth against each other and between the chatter of birds everywhere.
Vegetation blooms with vibrant, hazy realness.
Breathe in. Smell, feel and look at the natural world with your own naked eye.
Quite honestly, feel grateful for the glistening sun beaming down, transcending through the leaves, making a beautiful array of light in parts of the green crested sky above.
Do you want every lake and river to be dried up, leaving nothing behind but a bedrock ditch? Everyone deserves the gift of natural surroundings. We do not deserve to be exposed to a world with nothing but roads and cities. Experience the grassy hills and the open forest.
Without the natural world, where is there room for us to flourish?
The Rain Will Always Come Again
By Valerie Houghton
Walk the distance Drift the clouds
Slide off bending leaves Sink through enriched soil
Feed those small and large beings That surround you
Say hi to your neighbors and be purposeful.
Because after the rain has passed, After the sun is in view,
The stars collapse in place. Stay where you are
Look around you. Feel your presence
Receive happiness from the things around you. though the ground is dry
And the grass loses its color, Lift your head up to these
Clouded prisons, and celebrate. Because the rain
Will always come again.
The Art of Nature
By Alexis Harwood
There are fallen tress, many more standing and some are just starting to grow. The ground is full of leaves that are brown and moist from the rain. The log that I’m sitting on is soaked. I can feel it coming through the jacket that I am sitting on. White fungus grows on the tree; it looks almost like coral. We were lucky to see it, now I’m kind of happy that it rained yesterday. The aroma of the forest smells like dewy wood. You can’t catch it when you are just breathing regular. You have to really try. Birds screech at each other. Fifty years from now when my children’s children are alive, I hope that they get to experience the forest like it is right now, with trees that go on forever. You can’t see a building anywhere, and there’s no cars to hear. I hope that even if the rest of the world is just one giant city, there are still nature preserves like this, or this the U.P. where there’s miles and miles of grandness, a hint that fantasies do exist. Nature is like a painting with all of the dazzling colors that somehow blend together flawlessly.
“Through a Bird’s Eyes”
Inspired by llan Shamir
By Thrinety Weber
Take my Advice.
Hatch from your shell,
and let your life take place.
Open your wings and fly out into the unknown.
Sing those beautiful songs and take flight into your work.
Open your ears and let your imagination grow as the wind whispers into your heart.
Live your life strong and proud.
As you go about your daily routine, don’t lose sight of the things ahead.
Fly into the clouds as your dreams roam.